There's no place like Vegas for rockstar chefs to lay their winning cards down on the table — Michelin stars seem to be as plentiful there as penny slot machines. But even the most ambitious eater needs an off-the-strip respite after a globe-trotting (and gluttonous) tour of the Strip. And so it was at a kitschy mom-and-pop breakfast joint that I found solace in the form of an enchilada omelet.
My sister, a professional poker player, packs up her bags and moves to Vegas every summer. Luckily for me, she has a cozy little house outside of the city that offers sanctuary from the bright lights and broken dreams.
It doesn't take much arm-twisting on her part to get me out there each year. (Her backyard pool helps, too.) But unlike many of the thousands of tourists that flock there each summer, I'm not going to try my luck at the tables or party at the hottest clubs. I am there for one thing and one thing only... to eat!! Bring on the Bacchanal Buffet, 'cause here I come!
The best part about having a sister that lives there — besides access to her car and a free place to stay — is her local knowledge. All of the poker players seem to have an inside scoop on whatever's happening, whether it's the brand new fine dining establishment on the Strip, or a 10-seat sushi joint in Chinatown. It also means that she "knows" people, which can help when you are trying to get a reservation in 10 minutes for 15 people on a Friday night.
But since money is an object for me (as is my dress size) there has to be a little give and take at the end of the day. Not every meal can be kobe chili cheese fries and lobster tail, and that's when the suburbs come in. Our big meals were balanced out with fresh juices and quaint cafes. Which is where this enchilada omelet comes in.
My parents came in town for the last few days of my trip, and on my way to airport we decided to have one last Vegas feast. But instead of heading to one of the (many) places still lingering on my to-do list, we hit up a quaint breakfast spot. Granted it was not my preferred way to finish up my trip, but who was I to complain.
Funny enough, I don't even really like breakfast food, so I always order the most savory dish I can find. That's when I came across the chicken enchilada omelet — the answer to my brunch prayers! It had all the Southwest flavors I love and adore, all wrapped up in a fluffy egg package. Needless to say, it's the dish I came home raving about the most. So much for white gloves and white tablecloths!
Chicken Enchilada Omelet
Inspired by The Egg & I; Las Vegas, NV
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce, divided
2 tablespoons mild green chiles, canned or fresh
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
4 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated pepper jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
3 tablespoons crushed tortilla chips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salsa, sour cream, and salse verde, for serving
Combine the chicken, 3/4 cup enchilada sauce, green chiles, and chili powder in a medium skillet and cook on moderate heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with an electric hand mixer), beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes.
Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over low to medium-low heat (a 10-inch skillet will work but the omelet will be on the thicker side). Gently fold the egg whites into the yolks until completely combined. Pour the mixture into the skillet and allow to cook until almost completely set. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the pepper jack and 2 tablespoons of the cheddar cheese along with the tortilla chips over the surface of the omelette. Transfer the skillet to the broiler to melt the cheese, 1 to 2 minutes.
Spread a layer of the warm chicken mixture down the center of the omelet. Run a silicone spatula around the edges to loosen it from the skillet. Fold it in half and transfer to a plate. Drizzle with a few tablespoons enchilada sauce and the remaining cheese. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and salse verde on the side.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)